This past July we took a trip to Kentucky, fueled by our eleven-year old’s enthusiasm for all things Breyer. She had wanted to go to the Breyer Horse Festival for years. We figured, why not? We left in July, during the worst heat-wave of the year, and headed north. Our trip consisted of stopping to see the girls’ aunt and uncle in Atlanta on the way, and seeing The Ark Encounter. On the way back we made a stop in Asheville, and, finally back home again. But this post will be about the Kentucky Horse Park and Old Friends Farm.
We left early on Thursday en route to Atlanta to see Aunt M and Uncle B along the way. We stayed the night in Atlanta and left the next morning, headed for Georgetown, KY!
Seeing this sign brought back so many memories for me! I went to college and graduate school not far from Saratoga Raceway, and lived there for ten years before moving to Florida. Every summer you’d find me standing by the rail, watching the horses race. I didn’t bet much, (what college student can afford it?) but I absolutely loved going up to the track at dawn and having breakfast while watching the exercise jockeys work the horses. I can’t even say how many famous horses I saw run there.
We made it to the Kentucky Horse Park and the Breyer Festival 2016. We followed many cars and minivans in decorated with “Breyer Fest or Bust”. We were excited!
The Breyer Fest was a bit of a disappointment for us. I guess we were expecting more activities, and less spending opportunities, especially since the tickets to get in were not cheap. To this practical-minded mom, I saw it as a big outdoor Breyer store. My girls enjoyed browsing the shopping area, but we could have done that anywhere (or at home online!) The part that we enjoyed most was seeing the retired racehorses. And this led us to visit Old Friends Farm, which, lucky for us, was right down the road!
Old Friends Farm is a thoroughbred retirement home and is a beautiful place with a serene and happy energy. We called ahead to book our tour and when we arrived found that our group was very small (they keep them small so that visitors have an intimate experience with the horses). Our tour guide, Laura, was terrific and to our surprise we were joined by Michael, the owner and founder of the farm. The tour took about an hour and a half and we didn’t want it to end (even though we were in a once-in-every-few-decades-heat wave!)
Please read more about Michael Blowen here. If you ever wanted to support an organization, this would be the one! The information we learned about each horse was incredible and I wish I had kept better records of who we saw, who we got to pet and love and feed. I know I saw some of these guys race at Saratoga years before.
I tried to keep up by making notes on my phone about each horse, but being the horse lover that I am, that quickly feel by the wayside; I didn’t want to miss a moment with these amazing animals, and I was right up front ready to stroke and feed and whisper sweet-nothings to these beauties.
It was really fun for us to hear Michael’s story about how he got started rescuing these horses, and his love for them was palpable. I think if we lived in Kentucky, we’d definitely volunteer here!We loved this farm and can’t wait to go back again.